How Polk Builds Superior Audio Products
“Polk is the type of audio company that can’t be labeled as strictly [a] mass-marketer or a stubbornly high-end manufacturer. …Great care has been taken to make sure it offers uncompromised loudspeakers for any application or price point.” - Jeremy Glowacki, Twice Magazine, 8/18/10
You stand in the store and you see on the shelf a Polk product, such as a SurroundBar®6000 IHT or a Blackstone® TL Compact Home Theater System. What you don’t see is the extensive quality control and assurance processes that go into each and every finished Polk product.
Over their 40 years of constantly improving their product development methodologies, Polk has cultivated one of the industry’s most comprehensive Quality Assurance and validation programs. Our program – called the 3-legged stool of quality, starts with Quality representation during the whole product development process at our US World Headquarters, moves on to Quality at our key suppliers locations and finally Quality at our the west coast distribution center. All Quality groups have extensive hands-on experience not just with Polk products and standards, but also with state-of-the-art QA processes.
QA starts with the initial product concept to ensure that important quality characteristics are built into product designs. This includes fundamental research into the viabilities of available or proposed technologies. Engineering models are fully validated and assessed for reliability, acoustic performance and sonic standards. From there the Quality Assurance process moves into the build stage, assuring the quality of sourced or purpose-designed components. Once product prototypes are constructed, QA shifts into overdrive.
The product validation process includes acoustic, performance and reliability testing, as well as environmental material testing programs using extreme temps and humidity, ultra-violet and salt-fog chambers. Packaging testing is fun and destructive, with drop tests and “shaker table” tests for packaging integrity and transit testing, which assesses how well the packaged product travels. Cosmetic criteria are judged and tested too (how does the finished product look?).
We put our products through the toughest set of circumstances we can think of before they even get to the final stage of production. Production of speakers is also scrutinized with every single product getting inspected and tested before being put in a box.
The QA Department also reviews product literature and owner’s manuals to make sure it’s accurate, simple and user-friendly!
In all, there are over two dozen separate Quality Assurance steps (and plenty of sub-steps) from the conception of a Polk product to the place you’re standing now, in the aisle of your local electronics store looking at a beautiful SurroundBar IHT.
The ultimate goal of Polk’s extensive, world-wide Quality Assurance program is to assure you that superior quality is built into all of our products from the very beginning. You will enjoy years of excellent performance and value.
If you have any questions, concerns or suggestions for or about Polk’s Quality Assurance Department, contact us.
This article was last modified Dec 8, 2013